UW Extension

Elmo Rawling

elmo photo

Affiliated Faculty


Elmo Rawling


Contact: Phone (608) 263-6839 | Email elmo.rawling@uwex.edu

Research Interests

My research interests are focused on the Quaternary geology and geomorphology of Wisconsin.  Recently, my work has focused on dune formation in the Central Sand Plain, dune and shoreline evolution along the shores of Lake Michigan, and grain-size analysis of modern lake and paleo-lake basins. Most of these projects include age estimates that help constrain the timing of Pleistocene glacial events in Wisconsin.

Prior to my position at the Survey I was a professor at the University of Wisconsin Platteville campus, where I taught geomorphology courses for twelve years. There, I also developed a program in undergraduate research.  I am especially interested in removing barriers for groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences, and help them participate in authentic, student driven research projects.  I have mentored ~50 undergraduate students, most of which have presented at regional and national conferences, and many of which have gone on to graduate school in the earth sciences.

Current Projects

  • Dune and Shoreline Evolution along the Great Lakes
  • Dune Formation and Distribution in Wisconsin
  • Pleistocene Geology of Oneida County
  • Grain-Size Analysis of Lake Sediments
  • Geologic Evolution of the Driftless Area

Selected Publications

  • Rawling 3rd J.E. and Hanson P.R. in press: Geomorphology and Geochronology of dunes formed on sandy bay barriers on the Door Peninsula of Wisconsin, USA: The importance of increased sediment supply as lake levels fell following the Nipissing and Algoma phases. Geological Society of America Special Paper 508, 65-83.
  • Attig, J.W., Hanson, P.R., Rawling, J.E., 3rd, Young, A.R., and Carson, E.C. 2011: Optical ages from ice-marginal lake deposits in the Baraboo Hills indicate the Green Bay Lobe stood at its maximum extent until about 20,000 years ago. Geomorphology 130, 384-390.
  • Burkhart, P.A., Livingston, J., Rawling 3rd J.E., Hanson, P.R., Mahan, S., Benton, R., Heffron, E., Jahn, M., Anderson, T., and Page B. 2008: Late Pleistocene through Holocene Landscape Evolution of the White River Badlands, South Dakota.  Geological Society of America Field Guide 10, 217-233.
  • Rawling, 3rd J.E. Hanson, P.R. Young A.R., and J.W. Attig 2008: Late Pleistocene dune construction in the Central Sand Plain of Wisconsin, USA.  Geomorphology 100, 494-505.
  • Holliday, V.T., and Rawling 3rd, J.E. 2006: Evolution of argillic horizons and clay bands in eolian sand on the high plains of Texas and New Mexico, Geoderma 131, 154– 180.
  • Rawling, 3rd, J.E., Fredlund, G.G., and Mahan, S.A. 2003: Eolian cliff-top deposits and buried soils in the White River Badlands, South Dakota, USA. The Holocene 13, 121-129.
  • Rawling 3rd, J.E. 2000: A review of lamellae. Geomorphology 35, 1-9.

Recent Presentations